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PMM Shares What Body Positivity Means To Us

There’s a lot being said recently about what “body positivity” means, leaving us all pretty confused!

The Plus Model Magazine team answers a couple of questions to really break it down for us once and for all.

image03Madeline (Maddy) Jones, Editor-in-Chief of PLUS Model Magazine, shares her thoughts here:

Natasha: What does Body Positivity Mean?

Maddy: To me, body positivity means loving your body every day by treating it well. This is more than just showing it off, it means honoring my body, feeding it well, embracing it and not putting it down, going to the doctor and making sure I’m in good health.

Natasha: How does it apply to your daily life?  

Maddy: It’s no secret, I live a very busy life so it’s not always easy to incorporate the those positive lifestyle changes I needed to make but if you truly want to do something, you will do it. Everything from meditation, to leisure time reading or listening to music, taking solo-cations and working out have been ways I have applied a body positive way of life.

Natasha: How is media/society portraying body positivity?

Maddy: I think everyone is allowed to interpret body positivity in their own way, I just don’t think that showing it off on social media is the ONLY way for us to show our body positivity. It seems like we celebrate those women who show every inch of their body but don’t show the same support for those that are body positive in their daily life by JUST BEING.

Natasha: What advice do you have for other women for embracing body positivity in their lives?  

Maddy: Living a body positive life is a journey and lifestyle. You just don’t wake up one day and say “Oh! I’m body positive!”. You have to be kind to your body, love your body, take chances and stand up for yourself when people put you down because you don’t fit society’s criteria for an acceptable body form. Surround yourself with positive people who are like-minded and don’t be a follower, be a leader in your own life. Just because I say something, don’t take my word for it. Do things for yourself and decide changes for yourself. Being plus-sized is not a death sentence, it’s not ALL that you are, it’s just part of who we are. Embrace it and live freely.

Want to get to know Maddy? She is the Editor-in-Chief of PLUS Model Magazine, the premiere plus size fashion magazine celebrating its tenth year in virtual print. Madeline is frequently called upon by the top plus brands to collaborate on marketing opportunities.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @plusjones!

Now that you have heard from Maddy, check out what Marianne Meissner, Associate Beauty Editor thinks:

image05To me, Body Positivity means loving yourself through all your flaws and imperfections and realizing that what sets you apart as different is the same thing that makes you so special. Oftentimes in society we are told that that which is different is bad and somewhere down the line the ideal of beauty became an unrealistic and unattainable level that few ever reach. Beauty became an exclusive club that we all wanted to get into but few were ever admitted to pass the velvet rope. Body positivity is the simple act of loving myself and trying not to judge myself. If I wouldn’t say it to a friend or loved one, then I shouldn’t say it to myself.

Natasha: How does it apply to your daily life?   

Marianne: I honestly struggle with this DAILY, but I try to make a conscious effort to compliment those around me with little nuggets of praise that I know I would appreciate hearing. I try, especially on the hard days, to remind myself something I have or do that I consider of value or virtuous that has nothing to do with my outward appearance.  Some days, I also try to focus on what is good instead of what’s lacking. If I’m having a great hair day, I own it. If my brows are on point, I own it. If my outfit is super cute, I strut a little more confidently. I try, in a sea of negativity, to take a moment to pick out ONE thing I can be proud of and I hold on to it. It’s always easier to judge yourself and criticize yourself than it is to praise and love yourself and I spent WAY too many years doing the former.

Natasha: How is media/society portraying body positivity?  

Marianne: I LOVE some of the changes I’ve seen made: I love the hashtags #celebratemysize, #iamsizesexy, #nowrongwaytobeawoman, and #thisbody because they are INCLUSIVE of everybody and every woman (and most men) and promote a safe place for us to celebrate and acknowledge our diversity in the plus size community. What I don’t agree with is when the term plus size becomes an EXCLUSIVE adjective to describe our bodies as “better” or as “real”. Do real women have curves? YES! Because ALL BODIES HAVE CURVES, but does that mean ONLY plus size curves are “real”? NO! We need to stop embracing rhetoric that excludes other women especially those who don’t look “plus”. Plus size starts at a size 12, and while that seems ridiculous to those over a size 20, putting those down or diminishing their role in our community is WRONG! I’d also appreciate if our community embraced campaigns with models over a size 22. Oftentimes, those in the outer limits within the size range are marginalized, and shame on us for doing to other plus size women what the media does to all of us plus sized women.

Natasha: What advice do you have for other women for embracing body positivity in their lives?  

Marianne: LOVE YOURSELF DAILY but LOVE yourself more on the bad days. Don’t get caught up in negative rhetoric and don’t tell yourself or judge yourself on a set of standards you wouldn’t judge a loved one on. Remember that you are MORE than a number on a scale or a jean size.

Want to get to know Marianne? She is a freelance makeup artist, living and working in Los Angeles, who feels that every woman is beautiful with and without makeup. Makeup only enhances a woman’s beauty, it doesn’t mask it, and all women should feel as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. Never underestimate the power of eye contact and a smile!

You can check out her website here: www.beautifullyoubymarianne.com and on Instagram at @princess_buttercupp.

Now, let’s hear from Sarah Chiwaya, Associate Fashion Editor:

image04Natasha: What does Body Positivity Mean?

Sarah: I think of it as a conscious re-framing of your relationship with your body: Reminding yourself that there is no one single type of “good body;” that your value is not dependent on how closely you match mainstream beauty norms (which tend to be very misogynistic and racist, BTW!); and rejecting any arbitrary ideas about what you should or should not wear or do based on your body shape or size.  It also extends beyond yourself by supporting others to help them work towards the same.

Natasha: How does it apply to your daily life?   

Sarah: As cliche as it sounds, body positivity is definitely a journey, not a destination.  Everyone has insecurities, and no matter how body positive anyone is, we all have moments where one of those outdated ideas about how women should look rears its ugly head.  My self confidence is so much higher than it was before I found the body positivity community online (4+ years ago!), but I still occasionally find myself having insecure days.  When that happens, I try to think of how I would react to me if I was one of the gorgeous plus size babes I follow online: Would I pick them apart in the same way?  No, so I try to show myself the same respect, even if it takes conscious effort.

Natasha: How is media/society portraying body positivity?   

Sarah: There has been so much progress in the last couple of years – whereas it used to be remarkable, nigh shocking, to see anyone larger than a size 4 portrayed positively in mainstream fashion, film, or television; there are more and more women of larger sizes rising to fame.  However, we still have a ways to go, as only the “right curves” are regularly being embraced, and body positivity should not have a size limit.

Natasha: What advice do you have for other women for embracing body positivity in their lives?  

Sarah: CHANGE YOUR MEDIA INTAKE!  I cannot stress this enough.  When I was only reading mainstream fashion magazines five years ago, I was constantly comparing myself (negatively) to the rail thin models that dominated their pages, and trying unhealthy diets to try to emulate a body type that is simply not in my genes.  When I started following beautiful and fashionable women of all sizes and shapes and they became my primary source of fashion inspiration, my outlook changed in a matter of months.  I still read traditional fashion mags on occasion, but they are tertiary to me now, and it is much easier to remember that they represent just one type of beauty when my feed is filled with so many other varieties.

Want to get to know Sarah? Sarah Chiwaya of CurvilyFashion.com is a Manhattan-based fashion blogger who believes that there is no size limit on style, and that clothing should be an expression of who you want to be on any given day.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter

The vivacious Linda Kelley Kilgore, Editorial Assistant chimes in too:

image01Natasha: What does Body Positivity Mean?  

Linda: To me, body positivity means exactly what it says—viewing your body in a positive way. That said, I don’t think it means to see yourself as perfect: but that your stretch marks, your scars, whatever, is what makes you, you. And that’s why it’s so amazing; there’s no one else in the world who has what you have! It’s not easy, but it’s a wonderful thing that I think anyone of any size, shape, or color should practice.

Natasha: How does it apply to your daily life?

Linda: It applies to my daily life because I’m a plus sized woman. I’m 21, and to be honest, sometimes I can really feel like crap about my size, especially when all we ever hear as students is that “you should be in the best shape of your life!” I have to remind myself that thin does not equal happy, or healthy. I think it also affects the way I dress. I love fashion, and always have, but I used to find myself thinking “I could never wear that”, or “I’m not brave enough to wear that.” One day I just decided to try wearing a crop top and high waisted pants, and shocked myself at how amazing it felt. Scary, yes, but in the best way.

Natasha: How is media/society portraying body positivity?    

Linda: I think social media now is way better than it used to be. Even just two years ago, there weren’t nearly as many plus sized bloggers or content creators to follow. Now there are SO many that it’s impossible to count! (not complaining though. I can always use shopping inspiration) I think what’s so inspiring about the recent influx of body positivity is that younger girls are seeing themselves in these women, something that I really wish I had had when I was growing up. That said, negativity is still present. Standards are still in place, despite the average american woman being a size 14 or above. Years and years of the thin-equals-pretty mindset is still in place in a lot of people’s minds, but I do think that it’s improving, slowly but surely.

Natasha: What advice do you have for other women for embracing body positivity in their lives?  

Linda: My advice to anyone looking to embrace body positivity (which like, you totally should. Seriously. Life is so much better.) is to not be afraid to try things out of your comfort zone. Love that shade of purple lipstick? Wear it! Love that pair of leggings covered in sequins? Wear them! Do it. I had a professor say once that women throughout history have always been constrained and imprisoned by their fashion, made smaller by it. My advice is to go wild with it. Do whatever you want, see others and be inspired, don’t compare yourself, and never, EVER be afraid to take up space. Don’t ever apologize for existing–you’re here, you’re fabulous, you’re magic. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Want to get to know Linda? She is a student studying fashion merchandising and an intern with Plus Model Magazine. She collects lipstick and is way too obsessed with her pug.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kelleykilgore!

The amazing Marcy Cruz, Blog Editor shares her insight below!

image00Natasha: What does Body Positivity Mean?  

Marcy: To me, being body positive is loving and showing respect for all bodies, including your own. How you feel about yourself shows in how you treat others and view other bodies. It is truly believing that all bodies are good bodies. Everyone’s body is their own and they have the right to live in their body however they choose, as long as they are not hurting themselves or others. Someone may be happy as a size 26 and someone else might be happy at a size 6. It is up to the individual. However, both bodies are beautiful. Beauty knows no size.

Natasha: How does it apply to your daily life?

Marcy: I used to be very critical of myself and others. I now see that no one is perfect and we all have flaws. Truly loving yourself means accepting your flaws and seeing your unique beauty, flaws and all. That, in turn, will aid you in seeing beauty in others. Being body positive has not only helped me love myself even more but it has taught me to recognize that all bodies are beautiful. I used to feel resentful towards thinner bodies because I felt they had it easier than I when it came to shopping, dressing and basically existing in this world. Now I know that everyone has their own struggles and it is not easy for anyone.

Natasha: How is media/society portraying body positivity?  

Marcy: I think we still have a long way to go with portraying body positive images in the media. Times have changed over the years but we still have celebrities sending the wrong message to the masses about body positivity by promoting plastic surgery, waist trainers and crash diets. They are reinforcing the idea that there is a perfect body out there to be achieved if you did this or that. If you are body positive, you know that there is no one perfect body but an array of beautifully made different bodies out there. The media also treats body positivity as the “in” thing now, yet choosing to highlight certain bodies that are appropriate to feature, in their opinion. Being body positive is not a trend but a way of life and anyone can be body positive. It is not dictated by size.

Natasha: What advice do you have for other women for embracing body positivity in their lives?  

Marcy: Treat others as you would treat yourself. I don’t personally like being judged, body shamed or made fun of. So I try to not do that to others. I also believe a compliment can go a long way. If you see a woman who looks amazing in her outfit, tell her so. If you like her hair, tell her so. Too often, we don’t compliment each other and compliments are another form of supporting and uplifting one another. Always start with YOU. Speak life into yourself and you will be able to speak life into others. Take the time to have those conversations with other women. You might be surprised at how much you inspire them to change their outlook on other bodies and themselves.

Want to know more about Marcy? She is a New York-based body positivity advocate, freelance writer and author, Marcy Cruz is on a mission to empower everyone to love the skin they’re in. Her blog Fearlessly Just Me is the go-to blog for women seeking inspiration in fashion, confidence, traveling and more.

You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Lastly, here is what I think:

image02Body positivity isn’t just a movement or a clever social media trend. It is a mindset and a lifestyle that you commit to each and every day. A conscious decision to love yourself no matter what! Regardless of size, scars, or anything in between – you will continue to have a positive and healthy attitude and respect for your body.

What does this mean on a daily basis? There will be no disparaging comments about yourself to others. You refuse to compare your body to others for the sole purpose of putting yourself down. Instead, you actively appreciate, embrace, and celebrate you, your body, and life!

In our media and society, there seems to be a bit of confusion about the concept of body positivity. On the one hand, I enjoy seeing women of all different body types, shapes, colors, and sizes. On the other hand, it seems like body positivity means also you can’t publicly address health or personal fitness goals. A person choosing their own health journey is both personal and private. I believe working out and defining your own health plans doesn’t take away from being a body positive advocate.

Ladies, what do you need to remember when it comes to being body positive?

1) You are a walking, talking masterpiece – there is only one of you!

2) Life is short – spending time bullying and neglecting yourself will never result in any positive growth.

3) You should always be the #1 advocate for yourself – if you refuse to love and support yourself, why should anyone else?

If you don’t already know, I am the Lifestyle Editor for Plus Model Magazine and I launched Dressing Room 8 to provide a web-based resource for women on personal and professional development, with a focus on fashion and lifestyle. I also offer coaching services – check out my reviews!

Stay up to date with the latest plus fashion and empowerment news by following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

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